Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea by April Genevieve Tucholke
Summary: Violet and Luke are twin siblings living alone in a mansion. Their parents left for Europe a long time ago, and the twins aren’t sure if they’re ever coming back. Money is running out, so Vi and Luke decide to rent out their guest home for extra cash. They have one taker: a boy named River, who looks to be their age. As soon as River comes to town, things start going awry. Children claim to see the devil in the night; people inexplicably start dying. Is there a connection between River and the chaos?
My thoughts: Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea was a big surprise to me. It sounded like it might conform to the trope of a good girl falling for a bad boy, and loving him obsessively no matter what he’s done wrong. Thankfully, Tucholke plays with this trope a bit. She doesn’t completely subvert it, but she makes it her own.
There’s a growing sense of unease throughout the whole novel, and the reader isn’t the only one feeling it. Vi, the protagonist, feels it too. She knows something’s wrong: she has instincts that kick in and keep her level-headed, for the most part. That’s the biggest way in which Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea avoids falling into the trope trap: the protagonist has common sense, and she pays attention to it.
Speaking of the unease within the book, though—it’s positively excellent. The tension is so strong and worrying that you might acquire an odd feeling in the pit of your stomach (I know I did). It builds to a tremendous moment of complete and utter terror. Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea has one of the darkest endings I’ve read in a while. Horror fans, you might want to keep that in mind when considering purchasing the book.
On the whole, Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea is a solid novel. I wasn’t too sold on the romance, nor the development of some of the minor characters, but the creepy atmosphere sucked me in and didn’t let go.